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Mise En Abyme: Archive

Claudia Sohrens

An open access archive for research and public education that investigates the political, cultural, economic and conceptual implications and frameworks within the archiving process.

Details
The Archive may not only to be understood as thesaurus, place, Wunderkammer, but is formed by its process. With each “touch” a new space opens, effecting a Mise-en Abyme of spaces that unfold inside other spaces; an inside exteriority.

The photographic research project "Mise En Abyme: Archive" is an investigation of political, cultural, economic and conceptual implications and frameworks within the archiving process, as well as an analysis of the characters and periods, architectures, styles, locations, and genres of the different cultural repositories engaged with acquiring and preserving the legacy we have inherited from photography and pictorial processes.

As cultural life is expressed in distributed archives, indexed by search engines, and aggregated for personal information portals, areas of practice, prior considered insignificant swamp of cultural production and exchange, have become irrepressibly significant and productive.  

Curtailed by diminished independence, fewer fellows, and increasing costs, many archives, as we know them may disappear. In many cases content- and context-related inter-dependencies are no longer intact: the preservation of original documents and conception behind the archive can no longer be guaranteed; yet the fragmentation and convergence into other archives, in combination with technical innovations, continuously generate new and unexpected information.  

My work evolves around different practices of photo-archiving with regards to accession, curation and preservation, and extends to the historical and political development of photo-archiving, integrated inter-textual media mixes and new structures of participation in cultural life.
 
While testing out creative approaches to research projects within an arts context, specifically to cross-disciplinary collaborations, I am opening the following dossiers:
- Anarchive: Projections of the In-Visible (Photography and the Nuclear Bomb, X-Rays and Cinema);
- The Souvenir & The Collection;
- Memory & Forgetting (Vilém Flusser Archive, Walter Benjamin Archive, Bertolt Brecht Archive, the Jewish Museum Berlin, the Joseph Beuys Archive, and The Institute for Social Research);
- Domestic Archives;
- Evidence & Accidents;
- Photo Sharing (Online Archives);
- Hand-Held Archives;
- Warburg;
- Images That Are Not Art.  

The project emphasizes a genealogy of media and media theory and critically explores relationships between photography, technology and emerging possibilities for media culture.
The installation of found images in juxtaposition with my photographs, film stills and text will form picture epics and episodes of photo archives and the process of photo-archiving that may serve as an open access archive for research and public education. A limited edition catalog/book with selected images and short essays will go hand in hand with the exhibition.